Mark hits target for London

Alexandra Hills athlete Bradley Mark was today named in the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team shooting team for London.

Originally from New Zealand, Mark joins fellow Queenslander Ashley Adams, as well as South Australian Libby Kosmala and Victorians Luke Cain, Natalie Smith and Jason Maroney in a team of six set to take on the world in London this August.

It will be the first Paralympic Games for the 55-year-old, who 20 years ago contracted meningitis that left him with quadriplegia.

Having made his first Australian team in 2009, Mark's road to London has not been without its challenges.

During 2009 Mark lived on the streets of Brisbane, dedicating every cent towards his shooting competition. Having come back from a tough year, he enjoyed a stellar 2011 season where he picked up two gold medals at the IPC Shooting World Cups in Sydney and Turkey, securing his place on the team.

Now with less than 100 days to go before his first Paralympics, Mark's excitement and pride at competing for Australia is palpable.

"Few people get to go to a Paralympic Games, it's quite an honour," Mark said.

"To be able to be called a Paralympian - I never realised when I started this mission that it would mean so much to me. I've worked very hard over the last few years to peak at the right time."

Mark joins two other Redlanders, Cleveland swimmer Daniel Fox, and women's goalballer Meica Christensen, of Wellington Point, in the Paralympic team.

Australia has won 24 medals in shooting at the Paralympic Games - 15 gold, seven silver and two bronze - since it was introduced at the 1976 Toronto Games.

Australian Paralympic Committee CEO and 2012 Chef de Mission Jason Hellwig said he hoped the tally would grow in London.

"I would like to congratulate Bradley on making his first Australian Paralympic Team. Representing your country at the highest level on the world stage is a rare and wonderful achievement and one that I know Bradley takes very seriously," Mr Hellwig said.

"Over the last two years, Bradley has emerged as one of our most competitive shooters. His dedication and love for his sport shines through when he competes and I'm sure he will do his country proud in London."

Australian Shooting Head Coach Miro Sipek believes Mark is capable of something special in London.

"He's very dedicated. He just wants to win gold, that's his goal. All six athletes really work hard - sometimes I have to stop them practicing because it just goes over the top," Sipek said.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games begin 29 August through to 9 September, 2012.

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